Working to make government more effective

Online event

Special advisers in government

Baroness Simone Finn, John McTernan and Salma Shah joined us to discuss the role of special advisers and how it is changing.

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Special advisers, or SpAds, play a key role in how the UK government functions, supporting ministers with political advice and working as general fixers. But they tend to receive little support or guidance in their roles and their job is only as secure as that of the minister they work for. The current administration has tried to centralise recruitment and management of special advisers, a change which presents a new set of opportunities and challenges.

To discuss the role of special advisers, and how it is changing, we were joined by:

  • Baroness Simone Finn, former adviser to Francis Maude
  • John McTernan, former adviser to Tony Blair
  • Salma Shah, former adviser to Sajid Javid

The discussion was chaired by Tim Durrant, Associate Director at the Institute for Government.

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Institute for Government

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